Accent Nails—Mariya Deykute

Accent Nails

 “They say everyone in Astana is cold, ice-touched —

                                                                        but at least I can breathe –”

 Hide my first language under the hipster chic NY boho ooh-la-la knit cap,
Find girls reaching to me like sunflowers with my accentless English
The perfect accessory; find them tasting cities like macarons; New York;
San Francisco; find them caressing my nails into mermaid shapes; here —
Do they do it like that — do we do it better — find them confessing; girl —
I heard you can be illegal there but live better; girl, I have this friend —
Chicago, LA, New York, Miami — don’t even think she works — girl, what
Do you think — let’s make every nail a different color— and when her friend
Turns her back, the one with ten earrings and the chipped tooth & the sky
Behind her eyes says, like a shameful secret, “I don’t think I’d go, my mum —
But don’t say anything–” and our common language, like swords sheathed
Beneath the table — history — rolling in the back of my throat, but I swallow it,
Swallow it: I want uncomplicated adoration today, I want to be 100% USA,
I want to represent the dreams & the cash & Beyonce at every club
In the flesh; I want to stop the bombs laughing inside my body and say: yeah,
Sure, you can come, even illegals — they have it better there, we’ll figure it out,
Yeah, yeah, we’ll make the ICE go away — but I can’t say anything, just cough
Up my first language like a ghost. “Spasibo”. God save you. God save us all.


Mariya (Masha) Deykute is a Russian-American poet with a deep love of the mountains. She is a graduate of the UMass: Boston MFA program. Mariya currently teaches rhetoric and creative writing in Astana, Kazakhstan and writes about the wilderness that exists alongside and inside all of us.


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